These 5 tips for new dads can help the whole family when preparing for your new addition. When you are expecting a child, you talk a lot about a mother’s health and nutrition choices and postpartum depression for obvious reasons. Everything you put into your body is passed along to the little one, and your mental state also affects the mother-infant relationship and child development. But did you know studies show the physical and mental well-being of the father also plays a role in your child’s health?
According to the American Association of Pediatrics, depression in fathers is a risk factor for excessive infant crying, child conduct problems, and adolescent depression. The effect fathers’ depression has on mothers also affects the child inadvertently. When any parent has mental health problems, it has negative consequences on parental childcare habits, father involvement, and co-parenting. Depressed parents tend to spend less time with their children, have limited physical contact, and are more likely to express frustration in child-rearing.
Studies Show Support for Dad is needed as much as for Mom.
Current research (Preventing and treating childhood obesity: time to target fathers | International Journal of Obesity (nature.com)) also suggests when only 1 member of the parenting couple is overweight, the significant predictor of later childhood obesity is the fathers’ and not the mother’s weight status. These studies indicate that the father’s physical and mental well-being influence the health, care, and development of their children.
With all these studies showing how significant dad is in child development, it’s a good idea for all involved for dad to practice selfcare just like mom. Below are 5 tips for new dads to help him stay mentally and physically healthy:
5 Tips for New Dads
Encourage dad to take a break.
– Dads are involved in their children’s lives more than ever. They are changing diapers, getting up at night, and being more involved in general. Sometimes the best thing to do to keep your sanity is to take a minute alone. Go outside and take a few deep breaths, take a walk, or shoot a few hoops. When you have had a moment to clear your mind and reboot you will be better prepared to handle whatever situation is thrown at you.
Dad needs time for himself.
– Mom isn’t the only one who needs adult time so she can be a better mom. Dad needs this time as well. Plan a night out with the guys, go to the gym, watch the game. Whatever it is that you like to do, plan time for it.
Take time with your significant other.
– As new parents, there is less time for you and your significant other. Sometimes this can leave new parents feeling isolated or left out. It is important to take the time for each other. When the baby is asleep spend that time with each other. The chores can wait. Have a family member or trusted friend keep your little one and plan a date night.
Just like mom, dads should eat healthy.
– Eating healthy isn’t just about setting a good example for your children. It also keeps your body and mind in optimum form so you can be the best dad you can be for yourself and your family.
Spend time together as a family.
– Spending time as a family creates lasting bonds that make strong relationships that help you handle stressful situations. It’s those times that reinforce why you do what you do. All work and no play is not good for the mind, body, or soul.
Pass along these tips for new dads in your life. Dads need support too!
Fathers’ Roles in the Care and Development of Their Children: The Role of Pediatricians | American Academy of Pediatrics (aappublications.org)